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SoCal residents head to Bakersfield to get their COVID-19 vaccines

Posted at 11:33 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 19:15:56-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — As vaccine eligibility starts to expand to other ages and a larger population, more people seek to get their shots, but for those in counties where people under 50 are not to get a vaccine, we’ve found some of them are making a trip to Bakersfield.

Cal State University Bakersfield is not only home to a campus but a vaccination site. But when word got out that this site had a higher vaccine supply than there were patients, people started traveling from southern California to Bakersfield in order to get their spot in line.

“I was taking my daughter to college in San Francisco, I was on my way back when I get a call from my sister in law, Bakersfield has shots! We're like 'we're going right by there!'”

Mark White is from Los Angeles and is one of many LA residents traveling to Bakersfield to get their chance at the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I'm trying to get it because I'm a musician so I want to be able to play shows and I have a few coming up that I want to be safe for them so I kept looking around for one (site) and here we are.”

The Cal State University Bakersfield vaccine site previously told 23ABC that they have the capability to vaccinate thousands of more people that have been showing up. And now that they accept walk-ins, in addition to opening eligibility to anyone over the age of 16. More spots are being filled by people living in places where they may not be eligible for the vaccine just yet.

“We heard quickly on the news that Bakersfield was allowing all walks so we took that opportunity,” said a LA resident.

“We have a friend who made a similar trek relatively recently. I think they read it from like a Reddit post,” said a San Diego resident.

“I don't have any of the conditions, they still let you get it ahead of time. So it's good to finally get it.”

Michelle Corson of Kern County Public Health says they are not requiring identification or turning anyone away, however, she does say that "the doses received in Kern County are intended to vaccinate those who live and work here." She adds, "we do not currently have enough supply in Kern to vaccinate all residents who are eligible."

But that comes as people continue to make the trip including Rudy Garcia who lives in Santa Clarita, and says the drive was worth it since his family is high risk.

“I figured this would be the earliest opportunity I'd have to get a shot before the open it up to everyone else.”

So for now, whether it's near or far, there’s a good chance these lines will continue to have people from out of town.

For those locally, if you'd like to sign up vaccinations are free and the whole process should take about 40-60 minutes.

This site will be open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Student Rec Center.